Its loud, it’s glamorous and above all it’s unnecessary. The IPL has become one of the richest and, highest paying, sport tournaments in the world since its inauguration in 2008. Each February the world’s best cricketers gets paraded, like bunch of cattle, in front of wealthy franchise owners, who will make a bid for them to come and play for their respective franchises.
The IPL is bad for crickets image
There is no arguing that there is a market for the IPL and it is immensely popular, you just have to look at the stadiums which regularly draws capacity crowds of 50’000+ spectators. It is not only with spectators, Indian cricket mad folk, which the IPL is popular with, it is also immensely popular with bookmakers and gamblers. Now we at the Sport Freak certainly have no problem with sports betting, in fact we often make more than a few punts ourselves.
However, we do have a problem when the result of a certain sport fixture gets manipulated and that is where our problem with the IPL comes in. There has not been a single year, in the now almost 10-years of the IPL’s existence, where it has not been smeared in controversy with match fixing scandals and illegal gambling rings being exposed and that is one of the problems we have with the IPL.
You see at the Sport Freak we are avid cricket supporters however the IPL instead of promoting the game the IPL constantly drags the games reputation through the mud by these match fixing allegations named above, which is certainly something you would want to avoid as a cricket administrator, especially since cricket already has a match fixing cloud hanging over the game, since the Hansie Cronje scandal broke, now more than 16 years back.
When a player like AB DeVilliers walks for a duck or when a bowler goes for 20+ runs in an over no one can deny, that little lingering thought creeps in their mind, “is something irregular going on here?” Again this is not only bad for the image of the game, but also unfair towards the players who can not be expected to perform consistently game in game out.
So you are against twenty-20 cricket?
Our other problem with the IPL is the fact that it leads to players getting over played, leading to burn out which filters through and negatively affects the national team. The Indian Premier League benefits no one excepts the already over powerful Indian cricket board.
With that being said we are certainly not against Twenty-20 cricket, infact as the author I love Twenty-20 cricket despite being a cricket purist. I would make the point that twenty-20 cricket is essential for the growth of the game especially in parts like America where the baseball like style of twenty-20 cricket can potentially make huge inroads with the baseball community.
Replacing the Indian Premier League
Since very few people, except for those in India, follows or takes an interest in the Indian Premier League, I would suggest forming a global tournament structure which is inclusive to all Cricket fans! How would such a tournament structure work? Simple I would suggest forming a twenty-20 cricket tournament similar to that of the current Super Rugby tournament where franchises of Australia, New-Zealand, South Africa, Argentina and Japan plays against each other both home and away.
Thus, you will essentially have around 3 franchises in each of the top 5 Twenty-20 cricket playing nations who would play against each other both home and away. Franchise owners will still be able to bid and acquire foreign players, thus a franchise like RCB (Royal Challengers Bangalore) can keep on to their foreign players provided that they don’t get out bidded by a franchise willing to pay more for that foreign player.
The Benefits Are Much Greater Than That Of The Indian Premier League
You see if the worldwide cricketing body can manage to form such a tournament the benefits would be endless, since the interest twenty-20 cricket sparks will not only be limited to Indian cricket fans. Essentially South African cricket fans will be able to cheer on their local franchise playing against an Indian or Australian franchise.
The above proposal will not only make twenty-20 cricket more inclusive, but it will also have substantial financial benefits for the game due to the fact that the audience will be much greater and diverse, advertisers will be able to target viewers from Mumbai to Cape Town.
I will conclude by this, the Indian Premier League was a good idea, and as much as it did to improve the game, by making players more innovative and willing to take risks, the current modal has peaked and will slowly start to regress from here. Viewers are getting bored with the same old boring format and the IPL draws very little attention outside of India, why not restructure the tournament, bring in more countries and open the door for a global tournament?